Separation Wall mural near Bethlehem compares slain Palestinian Eyad Hallaq to George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed in the US by a white policeman.


Seka Hamed Flickr page

Blog Post

Hallaq Family Takes Murder Case against Israeli Police to Supreme Court

The family members of an autistic Palestinian man, Eyad Hallaq, who was shot and killed by an Israeli policeman in May 2020, are taking their case to the Israeli Supreme Court after prosecutors refused to appeal the policeman’s acquittal.1

On September 5, 2023, Adalah—The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, along with al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, filed a petition to the Supreme Court on behalf of Hallaq’s parents against the decision of the Police Investigation Department (PID) and the State Attorney’s Office not to appeal the Jerusalem District Court’s ruling that acquitted the Israeli border police officer who killed their son.

The Supreme Court has given the prosecutor’s office 21 days to respond to the family’s claim that refusing to appeal the case effectively broadens the definition of allowable self-defense. The court refused to expedite its ruling, as requested by the family.2

According to Adalah, which is representing the Hallaq family, “The decision of the State Attorney’s office perpetuates Israel’s systemic policy of near-blanket impunity for its police and other armed forces when they kill and injure Palestinians, and sanctions this impunity in its legal system.”3

On July 6, 2023, the Jerusalem District Court found the policeman who shot and killed Hallaq innocent of reckless manslaughter charges. “The District Court’s ruling,” says the Hallaq legal team, “grounded entirely in the police officer’s subjective ‘perceived danger’ and the police officers’ misunderstanding of the situation, absolves the officer of criminal liability, as the court concluded that his actions were reasonable given the circumstances.”4

The decision by the Israeli justice department to bring charges against the policeman was a rare instance in which Israeli police and security officials have been investigated for hurting or killing Palestinians. Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights organization, found that between 2017 and 2022 only 4.4 percent of complaints filed by Palestinians against Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank led to indictments—much less convictions.5

Rana Hallaq mourns her slain autistic son, Iyad on June 1, 2020; he was shot by Israeli police the previous day in the Old City of Jerusalem

Rana Hallaq mourns her slain autistic son, Eyad Hallaq, on June 1, 2020. He was shot dead by Israeli border police the day before in the Old City of Jerusalem merely for running away and cowering in a garbage shed. The case generated widespread protest.


Ahmad Gharabli AFP via Getty Images

Unarmed, Unprotected

Hallaq, 32, was on his way to a center for people with disabilities in Jerusalem’s Old City on May 30, passing through the Lions’ Gate checkpoint, when police tried to stop him and then shot seven times in his direction, shouting “Terrorist! Terrorist!” Shot in the leg, the terrified Hallaq sought refuge in a small room next to a dumpster. He was screaming, “I am with her! I am with her!” pointing to his caregiver from the center who had also hidden in the room when she heard the gunfire.6

Warda Abu Hadid, Hallaq’s caregiver who was accompanying him to his special needs school, tried in vain to tell the policemen in Hebrew that he had a disability, but they stormed into the room and shot Hallaq in the chest at point-blank range. She was then also held with a gun to her head before being take to the detention center and repeatedly interrogated for hours about the events that had occurred. Police insisted that Hallaq had a weapon.

The police officer claimed that Hallaq, who had the mental capacity of an eight-year-old child, had made suspicious movements and that Abu Hadid’s screams made him think she was afraid of Hallaq. Investigators somehow were unable to submit footage of the incident, despite the numerous cameras in the area.7

Devastatingly, Abu Hadid had herself taken Hallaq to the Old City police station to introduce him to the squadron, a procedure that had become customary among people with special needs after a previous shooting incident involving a child with a disability.

“They took Eyad. I want Eyad. When will Eyad come back? When? When? When? All day long I am at the door—maybe he will come back,” his mother, Ranad Hallaq, told Haaretz. “Thirty-two years I raised him, step by step. I put so much into him. My health suffered. Everyone who took care of him said there was no Palestinian who was looked after like him. But your people think he was garbage. That’s why he was murdered.”8

Blog Post Eyad al-Hallaq: The Last Hour

What happened to Eyad al-Hallaq, 32, an autistic man who was just walking to his special needs school in Jerusalem’s Old City with his caretaker?